Case Study: How tech giants HPE and Intel generated leads by ditching the idea of the micro-site.

SNAPSHOT


Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is an American multinational enterprise information technology company, spun out of Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2015. HP is considered one of the founding fathers of Silicon Valley, having started the technology company in 1939 in a garage in Palo Alto, California. HPE now provides products and solutions across areas ranging from servers, storage and networking to consulting, software and support.

HPE is in a strategic partnership with Intel, another American multinational technology company and one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers. Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, Dell, and of course, HPE. Together HPE and Intel companies make up the strategic HPC Alliance.

THE CHALLENGE


The challenge was how best to position HPE and Intel as the go-to companies for enterprise solutions. They have good brand recognition as a whole, so the challenge was how to raise the profile of individual solutions in the brands, with a particular focus on storage, big data and the Internet of Things. This resulted in targets within targets; certain numbers of leads were expected by six different departments within the parent companies, necessitating a campaign which targeted each department individually. Being enterprise solutions, HPE was naturally interested in reaching IT decision makers in the largest companies, with a goal of generating leads in companies with 500+ employees.

ENTER SITUATION PUBLISHING


HPE and Intel came to Situation Publishing in May/April 2015 with a plan of developing “anchor hubs” with key IT publishers. These hubs were originally planned to take the form of micro-sites through which they could publish HPE and Intel content, with the aim of driving traffic and generating leads by utilising the publisher’s capacity for audience engagement and content creation.

Situation Publishing’s recommendation was that in place of micro-sites, onto which it is hard to drive traffic, the two companies instead take sponsorship of a section of The Register itself. Within that section HPE and Intel have guidance over the topics that are written but The Register maintains editorial control and independence.

By using The Register’s journalists, the brands ensured authenticity and benefited from content that generated the maximum amount of interest from readers and wasn’t dependant on marketing terminology.

To that end, The Register launched ‘Infrastructure’, a new editorial section integrated into top-level site navigation, in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel:

Figure 1: Infrastructure - highlighted in green, a new section sponsored by HPE/Intel

The editorial composition spanned a range of blogs, listicles, videos, features and webcasts to engage readers. The ultimate aim was to start a conversion funnel to generate leads. This new section was purpose built to accommodate advertisements and promotional stories from HPE.

The strategy behind the new section involved four pillars, all designed to drive engagement and maximise HPE’s budget:

Pillar 1 – Bring a high volume of readers through the new section

A daily flow of news was created, aimed at driving readership towards the next level of engagement.

Pillar 2 – Writing about relevant topics

By running the campaign across multiple technology areas, all of which are closely aligned to HPE’s departments and relevant to their solutions, the readers in the section were refined to HPE’s target audience.

Pillar 3 – Variety of content

From deep dive features to shareable content, opinion pieces, live broadcasts and news, each content format played a part in the conversation.

Pillar 4 – Using The Register’s personalities and authentic content

When content is written and delivered by a subject matter expert, it cuts through the noise and delivers short and long term reach. Each writer was hand-picked based on their real-world experience to ensure the client benefited from this cut-through.

By using this strategy, HPE could be confident that the audience’s initial interest was piqued with news, articles and videos, and then they were being engaged with blogs and features. The goal was that by reading these, it would lead them to look at HPE and Intel’s webcasts and whitepapers, which were visible in the sidebar at all times.

Situation Publishing was aiming to bring readers into the so-called ‘conversion funnel’ to ultimately generate meaningful leads for HPE:

Figure 2: Infrastructure - highlighted in green, a new section sponsored by HPE/Intel
Figure 3: Specific Infrastructure section purpose built for HPE/Intel

THE RESULTS


Situation Publishing exceeded all established benchmarks set by HPE. This included attracting more than double the expected unique readers, an achievement that would have been impossible without being allowed to use The Register’s authentic voice. The program performed successfully across all of the metrics imposed.

For instance: The benchmark for page impression was set at 325,000 and the end delivered result was over 700,000 (exceeding the target by 118%), the target average dwell time on the infrastructure section articles was 4 minutes but delivered at over 9 minutes (125%). Most significantly, from a projection of 98,000 unique readers, over 300,000 were delivered, meaning a difference of 244%.

On the social side, the campaign looked to amplify HPE and Intel’s social media by including their twitter feed in the sidebar of the purpose built Infrastructure section. This sidebar was also used as a promotional space to host the latest Whitepapers from both companies. Although not part of the original targets, the content gained almost 10,000 social shares and around 1,300 comments.

For display advertising, Situation publishing achieved a click through rating of 0.18%, almost double the target benchmark of 0.1%. Viewability achieved was 80% versus a 50% benchmark.

Leads generated numbered over 2,500, spread across the six different departments of HPE involved in the campaign.